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Anstruther has a large and busy harbour berthing many pleasure and commercial fishing vessels offering sea angling and trips. The Scottish Fisheries Museum at the quayside remembers in great detail the once thriving fishing and boat building industry and related history of fishing methods. The World Famous Anstruther Fish Bar has an enviable reputation for its fish and chips, winning numerous awards over the years.
YOU TUBE clip of a storm taken from Anstruther harbour.
Anstruther is probably named for a Celtic Saint 'Ethernan' who died in 699AD. Literally translated, it means 'Ethernan's streams' of which Anstruther has many. Fishing dues were granted to the monks on the Isle of May by King William I.
In the past the local Anstruther industries included fish curing, coopering, boat building, net-making and later the manufacture of canvas floats and oilskins. Today it is still a thriving port with local fishermen landing crab, lobsters for the local restaurants.
A short walk through Anstruther's past;
1. Wightman's Wynd. Charles Wightman, merchant and smuggler, provided refuge in Anstruther to defeated clansmen after the Battle of Culloden. His smuggling connections enabled him to organise safe passage out of Scotland.
2. Thomas Chalmer's was born and raised in Anstruther. Showing an aptitude for Maths, he attended St Andrews University, but in 1803, following personal losses, became a minister of Kilmany Church. In 1843, Chalmers joined 400 other Church of Scotland ministers to begin the Free Church and was its first moderator.
3. Robert Louis Stevenson, the author, stayed in Cunzie House while in Anstruther in 1868 working on the harbour with his father's engineering firm.
4. The Old School House, Anstruther - John Martin was schoolmaster here from 1734. With an excellent reputation for teaching Latin, he complained that his students were distracted from their lessons by the sparrows nesting in the thatch . His son David is renowned as an artist, painting more than 300 portraits including the states-man Benjamin Franklin, whose portrait hangs in the White House in Washington D C.
5. Captain Rodger's House. Captain Alexander Rodger was born and raised in Cellardyke, Anstruther. He went to sea at the age of 19; within three years he was commanding a brig voyaging to the Mediterranean. He commanded the first ship of any size to sail from Glasgow to an Australian port. He successfully lead an expedition of Cellardyke fisherman to the goldfields of Australia and invested in the fast new 'clipper' ships for use in the China tea trade. His clipper ship Taeping, won the 1866 tea race from Foochow to London, beating the Ariel and Captain McKinnon by 20 minutes.
Anstruther is well worth a visit today, enjoy a stroll around the bustling harbour and watch the fisherman land their fresh lobsters on the jetty.